Loan striker Aaron Connolly took part in his first training session at The Brache this morning after completing his recovery from a hamstring injury with parent club Brighton & Hove Albion.
The 19-year-old agreed to join the Hatters until the end of the season on deadline day of the January transfer window – the same day he signed a new three-and-a-half year contract with the Premier League Seagulls.
Connolly had suffered the injury in an Under-23 fixture at Liverpool three weeks previously, and it was agreed that he would not move north to join up with the Town until he had played in a match on the south coast.
That return to action came last Friday night, with the Republic of Ireland Under-19 international bagging his 18th goal of the season in a friendly win over Canadian outfit Vancouver Whitecaps.
After arriving at the club today, Connolly said: “It was good getting the deal done back in January, but obviously I couldn’t join until I got back from injury, which was very frustrating, but it’s good to be here and I’m ready to go.
“It’s been two or three months since I did my hamstring, so I had to get that right down at Brighton and get some minutes under my belt.
“I managed to get a goal, which is always nice, but that game was just about getting fitness back to be ready to come up here.
“It’s a dream scenario to come into a promotion chasing squad, and hopefully play any part I can to hopefully keep that push going. Mick has said just to help as much as I can and see what happens in the next month or so.”
Despite his tender age, Connolly already has promotion-winning experience on his CV with Albion’s Under-23 side, who are currently second in the Premier League 2 Division One table, behind Everton but well above the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham.
He said: “We are second in the table, and probably got a good chance of winning it having got promoted last year from Division Two, so hopefully I can have another good experience like that here – especially in front of fans, which will make it even better.”
One of Connolly’s goals this season came against the Hatters in the Checkatrade Trophy Southern Group H game at Kenilworth Road in early September, and the teenager had been named PL2 player of the month for both November and December before injury struck soon into the New Year.
“I’ve got a few goals, but then the injury stopped it,” said Connolly, who will wear squad number 18 during his time as a Hatter.
“It’s all about getting back on track and hopefully scoring goals again, so hopefully I can do that here and keep that promotion push going.
“I know a few of the Irish boys here having met them when we played at Kenilworth Road in the Checkatrade, like Alan Sheehan and Alan McCormack.
“I’ve also been in the same Under-19 squad as Jack James when we played Wales in September, so there’s a couple of familiar faces who’ll hopefully help me settle in as soon as possible.”
Welcome to Kenilworth Road, Aaron!